I’m not sure how so many of us, myself included, started mistaking self-sacrifice for love. We not only harbor this confusion but also project it onto others. “You’ve been such a great mom to me, thank you for all the sacrifices you made for me.”

Husband arguing with wife infront of a kid

Life does require compromises. Not everything we desire comes our way, be it the school, the job, or the relationship. However, compromises made without conscious consent can morph into secret sacrifices. These hidden sacrifices foster resentments, which, like termites, gradually erode our affection for who and what we cherish.
An elegant professor in her late late 60’s collected so many of these secret sacrifices over the 35 years of an otherwise great marriage that it had become a prison for her.
Her husband’s surprise was a testament to how well executed and secret her sacrifices were. She would complain here and there but she too never took a stance hoping to be finally seen and saved while she was busy saving others.
Neither of them truly understood the power of secret sacrifices. It’s like Carbon Monoxide for a relationship, a silent killer.
Agreements may not feel sexy or even natural, but if you they are essential to create an authentic and resilient relationship with joy and freedom. It’s like consent before sex. Sex can be a gorgeous expression of deep love or it can be rape and everything else in between depending on constent, on agreements.
When I was younger, I didn’t want to hear ‘no’ for an answer. Coming to an agreement with our mind already made up has an underlying ‘neediness’ or greasiness that is disconcerting for others. When you FORCE yourself or someone else to do something, your motivation is not coming from LOVE, it’s coming from FEAR or ANXIETY. It doesn’t feel like love either. The other person can sense the demand for necessary compliance.
Let’s be honest, it’s not an agreement, it’s a dictum, it’s a ‘gun to your head’ situation. Agreements like those don’t work but they leave you feeling disheartened and confused.
Now, if I do have a concern when making agreements, it is that someone will agree with me when they don’t want to.
Please do me, yourself, and our relationship a favor and DON’T create this agreement with me if you don’t want to.

Here’s the really fun part. 

Now that I wholeheartedly insist that people not agree with me if they don’t want to, more people make agreements with me than ever before.

‘Don’t expect honesty if you are not being honest with yourself’, I tell myself.

‘Don’t get upset about people not being honest when you were not honest with yourself or with them about the agreement you were making.’ 

‘It wasn’t even an agreement, no wonder it failed.’

Agreements are crucial for the survival of relationships. A pattern of broken agreements can doom a relationship. Loving repairs after disagreements are essential, but we must

Now here’s what’s REALLY IMPORTANT about relationships and agreements:

Relationships require agreements for their survival.

A relationship where agreements are consistently broken will not last.

Of course we will all mess up, make mistakes, break agreements we have kept. Of course having LOVING REPAIRS after disagreements and hurts are the backbone of creating a beautiful relationship.

However, when we consistently become callous about the agreements we make the relationship will not survive for long.

Unlike love which is unconditional, relationships REQUIRE conditions, rules, guidelines, and agreements.For instance, you can’t maintain the relationship between a parent and a child if you break the sexual boundary with a child. Break that condition and you have broken the relationship (amongst many other things). 

Relationships are delicate. Callousness doesn’t last long.

Ready to create an agreement that fosters resilience in your love and relationship? Here’s how to start:

  • Approach with kindness and curiosity, not demands.
  • Share openly about your needs and their importance.
  • Listen deeply to understand their perspective and needs.
  • Find common ground and brainstorm an agreement together.
  • Define parameters, such as check-ins and the possibility for revisions.


Moving from the minefield of assumptions to the solid ground of shared understanding and respect creates joyful, and resilient relationships. 

I’d love to hear your stories and insights on this path.

I read and personally respond to every email you send.